Located on the Eger Stream, on the hills of the Bükk Mountains, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Hungary; Eger. It serves as the gateway to northern Hungary and is best known for its historic buildings and monuments, castle, cathedral, thermal baths and medicinal waters. This beautiful Baroque town was built around a former cathedral, however during the Turkish occupation in the 16th century, most churches were converted into mosques and public baths. The city is quite popular among Turkish tourists due to its many popular historical buildings. Muslims visitors will however find it quite hard to locate Muslim-friendly facilities like Halal food and prayer areas in Eger.
Eger’s town center is attractive and is rich in historic monuments. It is the site of what is said to be one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Europe; The Minorite Church, which lies on Dobó István tér. Dobó István tér is a market place that lies below the extremely popular Eger Castle. There is also an impressive statue of Dobó, the town defender; located in the center of the square.
The Castle of Eger is one of the most important sightseeing attractions in the area. This protected historic monument was originally built in the 11th century, and was expanded and renovated over time. It is perched high above town and is home to the István Dobó Castle Museum. This museum has exhibitions that describe the castle’s history and structure and is a great insight into Eger’s past. There is also an art gallery inside the fortress that has works by popular artists from Italy, Austria, Hungary and elsewhere. Various other programs show visitors the historical traditions of the castle. The castle is visible from almost anywhere in the city and it should be on every visitor’s itinerary.
Located west of the castle, is a great reminder of Eger's Turkish occupation; the minaret of Eger. This surviving minaret once belonged to a mosque; Djami of Kethuda, which was destroyed in 1841. The 14-sided, 33 metre tall minaret is in good enough condition to climb, and visitors will have to pay a small fee to climb to the top. The staircase is steep and narrow, and the climb is not recommended to those who are claustrophobic. However, once on top, visitors will be met with a unique and gorgeous view of the surrounding area.
Located only 6 kilometres away from Eger, is a spa and wellness complex. The thermal waters here, stream down the hillside and it is definitely something every visitor must experience. Eger is called the Spa of Northern Hungary, as it is rich in thermal waters. Tourists must pay a visit to one of the spas or bathhouses here. These Turkish baths are a great way to see the changes that were made during the Turkish occupation.
The closest international airport to Eger is Debrecen International Airport; located in Debrecen in the Hajdú-Bihar County, approximately 132 kilometres from the center of Eger. Another airport offering international flights is Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport; located in Budapest. This airport is approximately 140 kilometres from Eger. Visitors can use the public transport facilities available at both airports to get to Eger.
There are no known Halal restaurants in Eger. Muslim visitors will have to dine at local seafood or vegetarian restaurants after making sure the dishes served do not consist of any non-Halal items. They should be aware that restaurants in Eger do serve alcohol. Some hotels may also be willing to provide Muslim guests with Halal food; therefore it is best to inquire. Muslim tourists can also find out if there is a grocery in the area that sells Halal good.
Finding prayer facilities in Eger will be quite difficult as there are no known mosques or Islamic Centers in the city. There were a couple of mosques in Eger when the city was occupied by Turkey, however today these mosques are not in functioning order. Muslim tourists can ask the locals for a prayer room nearby or they will have to offer their prayers in the privacy of their hotel room, when possible.